Africa is a continent filled with resources – gold, diamonds, oil, wildlife and so much more and yet there is one resource that is constantly overlooked, a resource that is significant and research shows that this resource can contribute 12% or more to the GDP. Fifty percent of the population of Africa is made up of women and they are under educated and under utilised, with a vast majority living unfulfilled lives of poverty. If this resource was a mineral, attention, money, aid and much more would be cast at it to ensure that it was optimised … and yet women have to struggle to attain equality.
Some statistics about women and girls in Africa
• Women only own about 15% of land and in most countries they are still not allowed to use
• Up to 65% of women in Africa live in poverty and of these most live in abject poverty.
• According to UNESCO, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of education exclusion for girls
• Poverty is the biggest reason for girls being excluded from education
• Girls are most often forced to abandon school to help with chores at home, work or prepare for marriage (often traded into marriages with older men for money)
• 27 million girls and young women, conservatively, in Sub-Saharan Africa are considered illiterate
It is estimated that it will take more than 100 years for women to attain equality in Africa at current rates … yet, by 2050 the population of Africa will have more than doubled and this will likely impede progress. As such the cry must be IF NOT NOW, WHEN? Girls educated today can change the profile of Africa in 32 years, in fact they must.